Football: United chief 'pleased' by Van Gaal's first season

Football: United chief 'pleased' by Van Gaal's first season
Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal (L) is pictured ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 28, 2015.

LONDON - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has won plaudits for his first season in charge from the Premier League giants' chief executive, Ed Woodward.

Under van Gaal, United have all but qualified for the Champions League - something they failed to do when the Dutchman's sacked predecessor David Moyes was in the manager's seat at Old Trafford - and Woodward said the club were well-positioned to challenge for silverware next season.

"As the season approaches its conclusion, we are pleased with the team's performance in Louis van Gaal's first season as manager and are well positioned to achieve a top four finish in the Premier League and to return to European football next year," said Woodward in a statement announcing United's third-quarter results on Thursday.

"As we look forward to next season, on the playing side we expect to be challenging for trophies in all competitions and on the commercial side we are excited by the numerous opportunities for further growth, including the first year of our 10-year partnership with Adidas," he added.

"We remain confident about the future of our business. Our commercial revenues were up year over year and we are raising EBITDA (Earnings Before Investments, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) guidance for fiscal year 2015 from £90-£95 million (S$187 - $197 million, US$142-$150 million, 125-132 million euros) to £103-£110 million."

EBITDA is a standard measure of operating profit.

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